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How Long to Wait Before Staining a New Wood Deck?

By: Danny Lipford

I want to stain my new treated lumber deck, but I’m told I have to wait several weeks. Is that true? -Gerald

Pressure treated wood decking is often delivered still wet with preservative. It needs time to dry out before finishing, so the stain will absorb into the wood.

How long you need to wait before staining will vary depending on:

  • The moisture content in the wood.
  • Whether the deck is in the sun or shade.
  • The climate and weather conditions in your area.

Depending on the wood and drying conditions, you should usually wait 4 to 8 weeks after installation before staining a deck.


Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

Gerald Asks: I want to stain my new treated lumber deck, but I’m told I have to wait several weeks. Is that true?

Danny Lipford: Whether you have an old deck or a brand new one, it’s important to regularly apply a stain or sealer, so that you can keep your deck looking as good as possible and lasting as long as it should. But with the new deck, the new wood needs a little time to allow the chemicals or the moisture in the wood to evaporate a little bit, so that it will receive the stain or sealer in the best way possible.

Now, a lot of factors play into that, whether or not the material was stored outside at the lumber yard, how long ago it was that they actually treated the wood, and whether your deck is out in the sun or in the shade. So, as a general rule, I would say, wait at least four weeks after your deck is built, or eight weeks if you’re in a real shady situation. That way, when you apply the stain or sealer, it’ll stay there.


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5 Comments on “How Long to Wait Before Staining a New Wood Deck?”

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  • deck staining Says:
    April 3rd, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    It is a good idea to use a cleaner on a new deck. It helps to get rid of the treatment chem on the top of the boards.

  • Ted Says:
    March 31st, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I had a new floor and top hand rail put up on my deck early fall last year, the other part of the deck is still the original and in good shape but is painted. I want to paint the entire deck to make it match up; however, how long do I need to wait before I can paint. It has been raining the past 2 days but has stopped and isn’t supposed to rain for the next few days.

  • Jon Provorse Says:
    October 1st, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I have a brand new installed cedar deck and railing can it be stained right away I live in the northeast and winter is coming

  • John Perkins Says:
    September 26th, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    After waiting the required time, is there any special cleaning required
    of the wood before applying the sealer. This question is about new wood.

  • Tony del Says:
    July 27th, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Have a new wood deck, I was told when built in Oct-Nov to stain in the spring (or 6 months after)?
    The company had to redo parts of the deck (new board, dents, gaps)
    Redo with wood (floor wood) are not flat with other board, many mitered joints now, missing screw nails, edge boards separating, screws being pull out, water puddles in a few boards. Nail-screws placed sideways on a board. Different colored boards.
    My question is, do I have to change the wood on the deck.The company wants to stain now while more work is done. Do I wait? I could have done it if not disabled now.
    Thank you,
    Tony D

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How Long to Wait Before Staining a New Wood Deck?